16 January 2010

The second pre-production Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer, G-AOEO, first flew in August 1956 just in time to be showcased at the 1956 Farnborough Air Show- at the air show, Scottish Aviation presented the new aircraft design in Swissair colors. Between January and March 1957 the airline chartered G-AOEO to fly passengers into short runways high in the Alps. Two main services were trialled by Swissair- the first one was marketed as the "Swissair Pioneer Ski-Lift" and ran three times a week between Zurich-Kloten to ski resots at Davos and St. Moritz. On alternating days, G-AOEO operated the "Swissair Jura Airlift" which connected Zurich-Kloten to Geneva via La Chaux-de-Fonds high in the Jura Mountains. Both services were scheduled to connect to Swissair international arrivals and depatures at Zurich.

Although pleased with the STOL performance and the economics of the Twin Pioneer, no orders were forthcoming from Swissair though the airline did later purchase one for use in photographic survey flights.

G-AOEO crashed in December 1957 near Tripoli while on an African sales tour. All six aboard were killed, including the co-founder of Scottish Aviation. Metal fatigue was found to be the cause as the left hand wing was found almost a 1/2 mile from the main crash site. The crash weakened potential customer confidence in the Twin Pioneer which would affect its future sales prospects.

Source: British Airliner Prototypes Since 1945 by Stephen Skinner. Midland Publishing, 2008, p110-112.

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